All eyes were on Taylor Hall tonight as he made his Edmonton Oilers debut in front of a raucous Rexall crowd, but it was a fleet-footed Swede who had everyone talking when all was said and done.
Magnus Pajaarvi scored a hat trick in his own debut. Scoring at even strength, on the power play and finishing things up with a shorthanded goal, Pajaarvi completed hockey's version of hitting for the cycle. The only thing missing was a penalty shot.
Pajaarvi was easily the best player on the ice as the Oilers defeated the Lightning 5-2. He was flying up and down the wing and demonstrated his drive and tenacity when he busted straight through the Lightning defence to score a highlight-reel first goal.
Now for that other player that was in the lineup. Taylor Hall seemed a bit nervous when the game began, but that is to be expected when an 18-year-old makes his debut in a city where he is expected to lead a team back to glory.
After he got through a couple shifts and quelled the nerves, he showed why he was the first-overall pick. His skill and speed shone through, and he has an NHL calibre release; as demonstrated when he hit the post on his very first shot.
It was only a preseason game against a subpar Lightning squad that was devoid of Stamkos, St. Louis and Lecavalier, but wow was that exciting to watch.
The future is bright in Oil Country.